Ginger, derived from the underground root (‘tuberous rhizome’) of the Zingiber officinale perennial plant, is also referred to as Jamaica ginger, African ginger or Cochin ginger. Most people are familiar with ginger’s role as a spice, condiment and flavouring agent. However, for over 2,500 years ginger has been used in Asian herbal medicine to safely relieve nausea from all causes (especially due to ‘morning sickness’), and to stimulate the appetite. Ginger has also been used to treat poor digestion, ‘heartburn,’ motion sickness, as a tonic to detoxify the body by increasing perspiration, as a carminative (relieves digestive gas), and to alleviate symptoms of colds and flu.
The active ingredient in Ginger is gingerol, an oleoresin, which is a combination of volatile oils and resin. It’s this gingerol that gives ginger its characteristic aroma and therapeutic properties. Components of gingerol include zingiberone, bisabolene, camphene, geranial, linalool and borneol.
In 1982, researchers conducted a double-blind study on 36 college students who suffered from susceptibility to motion sickness. They spun the students around in a tilting, rotating chair, and compared the effects of 940 mg of powdered ginger to 100 mg of the popular anti-motion sickness drug, dimenhydrinate, in preventing motion sickness. They found that ginger’s ability to prevent motion sickness was even greater than the drug.
On the basis of this and other studies, German health authorities concluded that ginger, at an average daily dose of 2 to 4 grams, is effective for preventing motion sickness and is also useful as a digestive aid. Ginger is ordinarily taken in the form of capsules, but it may also be consumed as a tea.
GINGER RESEARCH SUMMARY
* Used for poor digestion with heartburn, vomiting, and to prevent motion sickness.
* Improves digestion and appetite.
* Increases muscle contraction and tone in the intestines.
* Promotes secretion of the liver and gall bladder.
* Promotes secretion of saliva and gastric juices.
* Effects on prostaglandin formation and blood clotting similar to aspirin.
* A strong antibiotic and antioxidant agent.
* A warming expectorant for coughs and sore throats, colds, flu and mild fevers.
* Reduces cholesterol.
CAUTION: If pregnant or nursing, consult a health care professional before taking large amounts of ginger. Although the German Commission E monograph opposes use of ginger for morning sickness during pregnancy, it is widely used for this purpose in the Orient.